More specifically, it gets to the point where, you tell yourself, "get up," and yet your body doesn't follow.
Maybe it even becomes a game.
You will count to three, and on three you say you will stand up. One. Two. Three. But no avail, you remain seated.
What is the missing link then, between your desire to take action and the spark that initiates it? And what would you call that state where, despite your commands, your body remains entranced so that, despite your strongest will and urgency, you remain physically unable to take action?
It’s a mild hypnotic state. Ok why is this important to your ability to play pool? I’ll tell you why.
Humans are pattern seeking monsters. So much so, that these sequences become a part of our daily lives. It's been said that if we truly had to process all incoming information... sight, sound, etc., that we would go insane. (Ever enter a loud night club? That initial ‘what the hell is going’ on feeling?)
So we have adaptive mechanisms that allow us to simply form an impression of what is going on around us, while truly focusing on one thing.
(Again, what t does this have to do with playing pool?)
In our desire for maximum control of our outcomes-- i.e. hitting the ball precisely this way, and keeping our arm angle at 32.6 degrees (with a protractor), and all the many variables that go into shooting the perfect shot:
We paradoxically LOSE control
Think about it this way. The first time you drove a car. It was most likely a clumsy effort, as you sought control of the seemingly hundreds of things going on at once. And yet in that moment, you had maximum awareness of everything going on (push this, step here, turn this way. STOP.)
Or maybe some other experience you were just thrown into, where it felt like 100 things were happening at once, and it was pure chaos.
But as we gain experience...
We no longer seek control of those many things, we simply trust that we have it. The only focus at that point is where we are going--- if that (sometimes I don’t even realize I’m home).
So get ready for it: Why would someone with years of experience playing pool, go about it as if they were just learning (like the car example). All that brings is a loss of control.
If rather, you allowed yourself to develop a pattern, something that could get you into that automatic state (hypnotic-- where the balls clink into the pockets like a transmission shifts gears) then not only would you gain more control, but you’d also make things much easier on yourself.
Now there are many ways to achieve this state. And that’s something I will go into in future articles. But for now one of the quickest tricks is with a pre-shot routine.
But the essence of a pre-shot routine is something that you do consistently to kick on your pool playing pattern. So that you aren’t wandering around like a deer in the headlights, trying to figure out which foot to pick up and step with next.
The irony, and challenge, is:
In gaining control, we must first give it up.
A little short term pain, however, will lead to a much more efficient game. So go out there today (or whenever you usually play) and:
1. Start a pre-shot routine
2. Trust yourself a little more (even if you miss, eventually you will adapt better subconsciously)
3. Share this article with a friend who you think needs it most (most likely they take 5 minutes for each shot)
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